Three Great, Free Spots To Photograph Tokyo Station At Night

April 10, 2018

Tokyo Station, with it's beautiful red brick facade, is a classic shooting spot, contrasting well with Yaesu's skyscrapers. Recently renovated back to its original state, best views are in the evening when the station is lit up in warm colors. 

Tokyo Station is one of the busiest stations in the world, servicing the Shinkansen (bullet train) and conventional lines.

It's hard to believe it's as strong and popular as ever, even after 100 years.

 

There are three, free open-air terraces right in front of the station, all within a 5-minute walk of each other. These are the best spots to take in the entire station and surrounding buildings.

Set up for the above photo was:

  • Lens: 14.0-120.0 mm f/4.0

  • ƒ/11.0

  • Focal Length: 32.0 mm

  • Shutter: 15

  • ISO64

  • Camera: Nikon D810

1. Shin-Marunouchi Building

The first place to visit is the Shin-Marunouchi Building, a huge shopping and dining complex across the road from the station.

The 7th floor observation deck (Garden Terrace) allows for wide views Tokyo Station. The deck is open-air, so you won't have to worry about any annoying window reflections. The height from the 7th floor, combined with the angle, is my favorite spot to shoot Tokyo Station.

 

Take the elevator to the 7th floor (restaurant floor) and make your way to the outside terrace area (free entry).

But please note - no tripods, no smoking, and no food or drink unless bought from one of the restaurants.

There is a low glass wall, but it is low enough to shoot above, so it shouldn't be any problem. Tripods are not allowed and there are security guards patrolling the terrace. So use some "ingenuity" when taking long exposures!

The terrace stretches across the entire front of the Shin Maronouchi Building, facing Tokyo Station, offering plenty of positions for a great shot.

There are some tables and chairs on the terrace, so if you have time before or after shooting, order some food and drinks while enjoying the view.

 

At A Glance:

Location: Shin-Marunouchi Building Garden Terrace, 7th floor

Station: Tokyo Station, Maronouchi Exit

Ease of Access: Easy

Views: Tokyo Station and Yaesu skyscrapers

Admission: Free

Hours: 11:00 - 23:00 (everyday)

Tripods: No

2. Marunouchi Building

The second spot with a central view of Tokyo Station is from the Marunouchi Building, located between the Shin-Marunouchi and Kitte buildings.

Of the three locations, this one has the smallest deck but is also the least crowded.

A small, simple deck with central views.

The terrace entrance is on the 5th floor and is free entry.

What I like about this spot is that the bus stop is right in front of you. At night you can capture some nice light trails with Tokyo Tower lit up in the background. Once again, tripods are a no-go here, so get creative.

 

At A Glance:

Location: Marunouchi Building, 5th floor

Station: Tokyo Station, Maronouchi Exit

Ease of Access: Easy

Views: Central view of Tokyo Station and skyscrapers

Admission: Free

Hours: 11:00 - 20:00 Mon - Sat, 11:00 - 19:00 Sun and National Holidays

Tripods: No

3. Kitte Building

The third spot to shoot some awesome shots of Tokyo Station is from the Kitte Building. You can see the Kitte Building to the right of Tokyo Station. In fact, when you shoot from the Shin Maronouchi Building, it'll probably end up in your shot. 

The Kitte Building was formally a post office built in 1933. However, in 2013, it transitioned into a huge shopping and dining complex.

In Japanese,"kitte" means "stamp," so it's nice that there is still a connection to the building's past.

In my opinion, the triangular interior design of the building has the most attractive layout of the three buildings. 

Take the escalators up to the Kitte Garden on the 6th floor

and go through the double doors to get to the terrace.

This is the closest spot of the three buildings to shoot Tokyo Station, so you can really capture some impressive photos even with smart phones.

Of the three spots, I think this deck is nicest in terms of ascetics - there is a relaxing green area and an outside restaurant/bar in the summer months.

 

It's a great spot to watch the bullet trains pass through Tokyo Station, so I noticed there were a lot of young kids here. But at night it's mostly couples and offices workers.

 

Like the Shin-Marunouchi and Marunouchi Buildings, Kitte also has a low glass wall, but notice the railing.

Since tripods are not allowed here (and there are security guards roaming around), I recommend resting your camera on it for your long exposures. It's surprisingly vibration-free, so give it a go.

The dark building to the left is the Shin-Marunochichi Building, our first shooting spot. 

Set up for the above photo was:

  • Lens: 11.0-16.0 mm f/2.8

  • ƒ/13.0

  • Focal Length: 11.0 mm

  • Shutter: 20

  • ISO100

  • Camera: Nikon D90

 

At A Glance:

Location: Kitte Building Garden Terrace, 6th floor

Station: Tokyo Station, Maronouchi Exit

Ease of Access: Easy

Views: Tokyo Station and bullet trains

Admission: Free

Hours: 11:00 - 23:00 (everyday)

Tripods: No

So, three easily-accessible places to photograph iconic Tokyo Station, do a little shopping and enjoy some food, all only minutes apart on foot. I am sure you can get some nice photos!

 

See the above three buildings in Google Maps

If you are interested in seeing other twilight and blue hour photos of Tokyo, please feel free to visit my Flickr feed.

 

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